The handwriting is clearly on the wall for the employees of Buffalo-based Catholic Health whose mid-year operating deficit is now approaching $16 million dollars in a difficult health care environment. The company has implemented a hiring freeze on all positions with the exception of pre-approved clinical staffing. CEO Mark Sullivan noted that the hiring freeze is one facet of the company’s cost reduction initiatives and describes it as a “course correction.” Further adding, “Besides reductions in the way we are compensated for the care we provide, these losses are further compounded by the fact that annual reimbursement increases we receive from insurers fall significantly below typical healthcare inflation.”
Like most health care providers, Catholic Health, with five hospital campuses, a long-term care site, a home care division and outpatient sites, is experiencing a declining patient census and the ramifications of significantly reduced insurance reimbursements, especially those associated with Medicare and Medicaid.
According to a media spokesperson, "While we continue to see market share growth in various areas, with more patients coming to Catholic Health because of our high quality, we are continually assessing the needs of our organization and our workforce as healthcare continues to evolve."
According to the industry lobbying group American Hospital Association, “Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than 60 percent of all care provided by hospitals. And, “payments from the two government programs were $76.8 billion less than the cost of care in 2017” while “Hospitals provided another $38.4 billion in uncompensated care in 2017 for the uninsured or patients who didn't pay their portion of a bill.”
One can only imagine the effects of the single-payer system now being labeled by 2020 presidential candidates, falsely, as “Medicare for All.” Each of the proposals, while somewhat different, would eliminate private insurers and allow the government to dictate everything from care levels to staffing.
Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?